TDs are notable by mass absence from Dail
MORE than a dozen TDs failed to show up in the Dail to hear answers to questions they had posed to Jobs Minister Richard Bruton
Leas-Cheann Comhairle Michael Kitt read through the names of 15 politicians before he reached the name of a deputy sitting in the chamber.
Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin, who was present, said the question and answer session available to deputies had become a "ludicrous scenario".
TDs forward questions to government departments which are answered in sequence by the office holder during 'Ministers' Questions'.
Mr Bruton was answering questions yesterday from deputies who had previously sent queries to his department on issues relating to jobs and business.
The deputies absent included Fianna Fail TDs Michael McGrath, Eamon O Cuiv, Sean Fleming, Dara Callerly and Charlie McConalogue.
Also absent were Independent TDs Catherine Murphy, Maureen O'Sullivan, Tommy Broughan and Mick Wallace; United Left Alliance's Clare Daly; Fine Gael's Patrick O'Donovan, Bernard Durkan, Sean Kyne and Pat Deering; and People Before Profit's Richard Boyd Barrett.
Mr Toibin said opposition TDs had the number of questions they could pose reduced while government deputies did not show up to hear the responses to their queries.
Junior minister John Perry said this was "unfair" as the majority of the absent TDs were from the opposition benches.
Mr Callerly, who returned to the chamber soon after his name was called, said: "The situation is a consequence of the new rules brought in by the Government in order to avoid scrutiny".
Mr Kitt said he would raise the matter with the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.
Independent TD Catherine Murphy, whose name was called out, later released a statement pointing out she was at an Oireachtas Committee on the housing crisis during the debate.